Mele X1000 is an Android TV Box based on Telechips TCC8935 dual core processor, 1GB RAM, and 4GB Flash that claims to support Blu-Ray navigation and 3D Video playback, something that is seldom supported in Android devices, but can still be found in a few products including HiMedia Q5 II (Hisilicon Hi3716) and VidOn.me A200 (AllWinner A31).
Network functions – DLNA, Miracast, NFS, SAMBA, BT, Web DAV
USB – 1x USB host, 1x micro USB (OTG?)
Power supply – 12V/2A
Dimensions – 19x12x4 cm (Aluminum casing)
The device ships with a power adapter, HDMI and AV cables, a USB cable, a remote control (without batteries), and a quick start guide. Mele X1000 currently runs Android 4.2, but an upgrade to Android 4.4 is expected. The firmware comes pre-installed with Google Play, XBMC, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and some other apps.
You’ll notice SATA support in the hardware specifications, but there does not seem to be any internal bay, and you’d need to connect your SATA drive via the SATA ports available from the rear panel (top right, close to the Wi-Fi antenna). According to TCC893x block diagram, there’s no SATA, so it must have been implemented via a USB 2.0 (or 3.0) to SATA bridge.
Mele X1000 appears to be available now for $199 including shipping, compared to $130 for HiMedia Q5 II and $239 for VidOn.me AV200, respectively dual and quad core Android STBs. That’s also considerably more expensive than Hotach HTV003 (About $60), also based on TCC8935, which lacks SATA, AV output, S/PDIF, Blu-ray navigation and 3D video playback.
After releasing a stable version of Fedora 18 for AllWinner A10 and A13 in February, Hans de Goede, working at Red Hat and a Fedora contributor, has recently announced “Fedora 19 ARM remix for Allwinner SOCs” on linux-sunxi community mailing list. This released based on Fedora 19 for ARM together with linux-sunxi kernel and u-boot, adds support for A10s and A20 based devices, and 38 boards and devices are now supported.
Where you have to replace [device] with your actual SD card device, e.g. sdc.Since u-boot is board/product specific, you’ll also have to update u-boot for your hardware. Remove the SD card, re-insert it, and run:<
to display a graphical menu (if dialog is installed on your Linux PC), or a list supported boards and products:
a10_mid_1gb A10 tablet sold under various names (whitelabel)
a13_mid A13 tablet sold under various names (whitelabel)
a10s-olinuxino-m A10s-OLinuXino-MICRO (Olimex)
a13-olinuxino A13-OLinuXino (Olimex)
a13-olinuxinom A13-OLinuXino-MICRO (Olimex)
a20-olinuxino_micro A20-OLinuXino-MICRO (Olimex)
auxtek-t003 Auxtek T003 hdmi tv stick
auxtek-t004 Auxtek T004 hdmi tv stick
ba10_tv_box BA10 TV Box
coby_mid7042 Coby MID7042 tablet
coby_mid8042 Coby MID8042 tablet
coby_mid9742 Coby MID9742 tablet
cubieboard_512 Cubieboard development board 512 MB RAM
cubieboard Cubieboard development board 1024 MB RAM
cubieboard2 Cubieboard 2 (A20) development board
dns_m82 DNS AirTab M82 tablet
EOMA68-A10 EOMA68 A10 CPU card
gooseberry_a721 Gooseberry development board
h6 H6 netbook
hackberry Hackberry development board
hyundai_a7hd Hyundai a7hd tablet
inet97f-ii iNet-97F Rev.2 (and clones) tablet
mele_a1000 Mele a1000/a2000 512 MB RAM
mele_a1000g Mele a1000g/a2000g 1024 MB RAM
mele_a3700 Mele a3700 (a1000g without sata)
mini-x Mini-X 512 MB RAM
mini-x-1gb Mini-X 1024 MB RAM
mk802 mk802 (with female mini hdmi) 512 MB RAM
mk802-1gb mk802 (with female mini hdmi) 1024 MB RAM
mk802_a10s mk802 with A10s (s with a circle around it on the barcode label
mk802ii mk802ii (with male normal hdmi) 1024 MB RAM
pcduino pcDuino development board
pov_protab2_ips9 Point of View ProTab 2 IPS 9" tablet
pov_protab2_ips_3g Point of View ProTab 2 IPS tablet with 3g
r7-tv-dongle r7 hdmi tv stick
uhost_u1a UHost U1A hdmi tv stick
wobo-i5 Wobo i5 TV Box
xzpad700 XZPAD700 7" tablet
Select you board in the graphical menu, or by running the command with your board, e.g.:
sudo sh <uboot-part-mount>/select-board.sh cubieboard2
The SD card is now ready. Insert it in your A1X/A20 device, connect the device to an HDMI or DVI monitor, and power it up to complete the installation. It will first resize the root partition to make full use of your SD card storage space, reboot automatically, and enter the first boot setup, where you’ll be able to configure networking, the timezone, create a root password, and create a normal user, before accessing Fedora 19.
As with Fedora 18, there’s no support for 2D (G2D engine), 3D (Mali 400 GPU), nor video decoding acceleration (CedarX VPU). AllWinner A20 support as been tested with Cubieboard2 development board, and the following are known to work:
UARTs, I2C controllers
EHCI and OHCI USB controllers (USB controllers 1 and 2, but controller 0 is an OTG controller and is not supported yet).
Video Output – HDMI, VGA, LCD, Composite Out
AXP PMIC including CPU voltage scaling
SOUND – Analog in/out, HDMI audio, S/PDIF out (SPDIF ported, but not tested)
Audio I/O – HDMI + S/PDIF optical out + Audio jack output
Video Playback – Up to 2160p @ 60 Mbps
USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x mini USB 2.0 OTG port
Ethernet – 10/100Mbps
Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g/n
Power Supply – 5V/2A
The device runs Android 4.1 with a customized “Windows 8″ user interface, and comes with a 5V/2A power adapter, an IR remote control (show below), an HDMI cable, a user’s manual, and a warranty card.
The remote above as a mouse button, to allow you to move the cursor with the arrow keys. Personally, I can’t use this feature on an IR remote without going insane (I tried with 2 different devices), so you may really to get an Air Mouse as well, if you plan to use Android.
Mele sells it on their Aliexpress Store for a whopping $188.88 including shipping, and other Aliexpress sellers seem to offer the set-top box for similar or even higher prices. Considering you can get the Mele A1000G Quad for less than $140 on their store that seems very steep price for just an external antenna, and a RK3188 based set-top box with similar features is available for less than $100. So I went to check on Taobao, and the price is much different:
699 RMB (~ $114) for the “Standard version” as above.
It’s normal the price is cheaper in China, since shipping overseas adds to cost, but the price should just be $15 to $20 more expensive, not over $70. I’ve been told the Chinese and International versions have completely different firmware and APK, but I find it hard to justify the price difference, and there must be some other reasons Chinese readers might find out. There’s also another seller that sells a Mele STB, with similar specs, for $132.50 including shipping, which strangely features VGA and composite outputs. The seller confirmed it was not the Mele M9, and just told me it was model A7 (which does not exist)….
Even though RK3188 have a better overall performance, AllWinner A31 is better than Rockchip RK3188 when it comes to gaming, and supports 4K2K video playback (currently) downscaled to 720p or 1080p depending on your output resolution, as there aren’t any A31 based devices with 2160p HDMI output yet according to AllWinner. Mele STBs also do not come with built-in Bluetooth, which may be problematic if you want to use a Bluetooth game controller to play games. Some people have reported Mele A1000G Quad firmware is unstable, and I had problems with CS868 mini PC firmware, so firmware for devices based on AllWinner A31 may not be very stable just yet.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Mele F10, a dual sided 2.4 GHz remote with a QWERTY keyboard and gyroscope, and found it to be a very good complement to any Android STB or mini-PC, with some caveats such as none optimal key arrangements, a lack of play/pause button… You can also use it with Windows and Linux. This product has been available for sale for a while, and Mele has just introduced a new version, called Mele F10 Pro, with better accuracy, and a built-in microphone and speaker for voice command or video chat apps such as Skype and Google Hangout.
The new RF receiver dongle is much bigger than the original one which could be a problem if you use it with a mini-PC directly connected to the HDMI port of your TV, but I’ve been told the larger size is due to extra components to handle audio. One good thing is that all keys on the remote side appear to be useful, the right and left mouse button have been moved, hopefully to free the center pad as an Enter button. The are also next / prev buttons, and a gaming button, as the remote can also be used with a number of games (about 16 are officially supported).
They’ve also made a number of chances to the layout of the QWERTY keyboard side, but I’m not sure I really like all of those chances, except potentially for gaming, and you can now access the 2 mouse buttons from both sides. For those hoping for a tab key, it’s still missing, but with the mouse buttons being there, you don’t need to turn over the remote to click on next. I’ll have to try to get a better feel.
The device is available for pre-order $38.87 including shipping on Mele’s aliexpress store, and it should ship by the end of the month. You can get a $2 coupon there [Update: The aliexpress coupon is only valid for orders > $100, but they've told me you could write "I know F10 PRO from cnx-software" in the comment field during the order process to get $2 off], and get 10% discount on week-ends. You can cumulate both offers. There may also be some $5 coupons around, but I don’t know of a working one below $50. I’ve noticed Mele does not always price their own devices very aggressively in their Aliexpress store, but with the week-end deal and $2 discount, the discounted price (~$33) might be reasonable. For reference, I paid $25 for the original version of the Mele F10.
DealExtreme has started a promotion that is taking place on May, 15-20 offering 50% discount on selected products. I’ve gone through the list, and found several RK3066 Android mini PCs all priced between $23 and $27, as well as some other items that may be of interest to readers of this blog.
[Update: Sorry, in just a couple of hours, all items listed below are already sold out]
Mele F10 Fly Mouse – $12.60 – I have just reviewed the Mele F10 earlier this week. If you don’ have an RF remote already, and use Android STB and/or mini PCs, it’s probably a good idea to buy this 3-in-1 (mouse, keyboard and remote) 2.4GHz “Fly Mouse”.
GOIGAME Rechargeable Bluetooth Wireless DoubleShock III Controller for PS3 – $8.30 – If you already have a mini PC, and don’t feel spending more to get an OUYA or Gamestick, this Bluetooth game controller can be connected to your Android device to play several games. I have one already, I could finally set-it up, kill some zombies, and I’ll post instructions later today or tomorrow. It also works with Linux, albeit I could only manage to make it work in USB mode.
Up to now, I always connected USB keyboard and mouse to Android mini PCs I tested. It works but it’s not always fun to use. Mele F10 Fly mouse is a dual sided 2.4GHz remote control with one side being somewhat of a standard remote, while the other side is a QWERTY keyboard. A gyroscope is also integrated in to the remote, which allows it to be used as a “magic” remote and mouse the mouse pointer. I’ve bought one on DealExtreme for $25.20, and I’ll do a short review about the remote today, even though it’s not exactly a new device.
Mele F10 Unboxing
I’ve received the F10 in a slightly damaged package. This happens often as to save on costs packages are often sent in bubble mailers, but all items I’ve received have usually worked fine.
The other sides of the package indicate Mele F10 can be used in Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP/Vista/7, Mac OS, Android, and Linux operating system, and that the device is FCC and CE certified. The device size is 169 x 48 x 19mm, its weight 160g.
Mele F10, RF Adapter, and User’s Manual (Click to Enlarge)
Inside the package, we’ll find the remote itself, a small 2.4GHz USB adapter, a USB to mini USB cable for charging, a sheet of paper that serves both as a user’s manual and a warranty card.
We’ve got the QWERTY keyboard, the standard remote, and a mini USB port for charging. There’s also an emplacement on the right on the mini PC port which is not populated, but that on some model is used to fit a microphone to be able to use voice commands. Not shown in the picture above, is a LED that blinks when you press a key, and when the internal battery needs to be recharged. There’s also an IR transmitter at the front of the remote, but this is most probably useful for Mele’s own set-top box only (Edit: It’s only used for the Power button). If you use a Linux box with an IR sensor, you could also record the remote code with lirc, and create a specific file. I don’t know how this is handled in Android.
Mele F10 Review
The battery was already charged when I received it, but it’s probably a good idea to charge it before use. To get started, you need to connect the 2.4GHZ USB Adapter to your device/computer, and the very first time, press the right mouse button (Back) and the left mouse button (Enter) at the same time for 2 seconds to synchronize the mouse, and when the pointer disappears press one of the mouse buttons again. I only did this in the first device I tried, and the remote just worked straight-away with the other devices.
I connected the USB adapter into G-Box Midnight MX2, MK908, and my Linux PC, and it worked immediately without any extra set-up required.
This kind of 3-in-1 remote is really awesome when using with Android touch based applications such as a web browser, navigating Android menu, etc… The only flaw I found is that the mouse pointer alignment seems to shift overtime, and you have to recalibrate it manually, by hitting the sides of the screen. The video below shows this issue and the “fix” clearly. If you have small hands, the qwerty keyboard may feel a little too long, and you may have to stretch out to reach the keys in the middle.
In XBMC application which is designed for IR remote, it’s possible to use the arrow keys to navigate, but the OK button is the right mouse (Enter) button, and the center button in the middle of the remote which is counter-intuitive. There’s also not play/pause, ffwd and frwd keys found on typical set-top box, so you have to use the mouse pointer for those controls. In XBMC Linux, AFAIK, I know there’s a way to configure keys, but I don’t know if it’s feasible in Android (Edit: Yes, we can reconfigure key assignments, see comment). However, Mute and Volume -/+ buttons work properly on the remote which is a plus.
After seeing one of the latest Mele videos where they showed a game (Similar to TurboFly 3D) controlled by a fly mouse, I kind of hoped some of the games could take advantage of the F10 gyroscope, but that’s not the case. You can play games such as Angry Bird Star Wars using the mouse pointer controlled by the Mele, and I can indeed play TurboFly 3D, but only in keyboard mode by using the arrow keys to control the spaceship, and mouse button to fire. I contacted Mele for details, and they replied “Most game can not played by the current F10 fly mouse”, which implies a new version should be released with the most popular games supported.
In the video below, I show Mele F10 used with the Android Browser, XBMC, and Angry Birds. I also show the “calibration” issue of the remote.
In conclusion, Mele F10 is a very good device for many applications in Android, and I did not experience the frustration I got with standard IR remotes in Android. However, the current button arrangement is not ideal for XBMC, and none of the games I tried could make use of the gyroscope, although I could play some games in mouse and remote modes.
In newer version, I’d like them to fix the “alignment” issue, provide some play/pause, ffwd, frwd… keys for media player applications, and support more games with the gyroscope. A Bluetooth version would also be useful as many recent Android mini PCs and set-top boxes come with built-in Bluetooth.
After Cloudsto A20 Media PC, and GV-17, we’ve now got more choices for AllWinner A20 based Android set-top boxes with Jesurun A19 and Mele M5, both featuring 1GB RAM, and running Android 4.2, with the former fitted with 4GB NAND flash and the latter 8GB. Those are ones of the few devices featuring SATA support, and optical SPDIF. Jerusun A19 also comes with VGA output.
Jesurun A19 Specifications:
SoC – Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 up to 1.2 GHz + Mali-400 MP2 GPU
System Memory - 1GB DDR3 RAM
Storage – 4GB NAND Flash + SD card slot (up to 128GB) + SATA interface
Video Output – HDMI up to 3840 X 2160 (UHD), VGA and AV
The device comes with an IR remote, a power adapter, and an AV cable, and sells for about $98 including shipping on Focalprice.
The specifications are basically the same as Jesurun A19, except the following:
Video Output – HDMI up to 3840 X 2160 (UHD), and AV (No VGA)
Storage – 8GB NAND Flash + SD card slot (up to 128GB) + SATA interface
USB – 3x USB Host ports + 1x micro USB OTG port (But I can find this one in the pics)
Weight and Dimensions – N/A
Mele M5 comes with an IR remote, a power adapter, a quick start guide, and, maybe, but I’m not sure, an HDMI cable. This product is sold directly by Mele on Aliexpress for $89.99 excluding shipping. [Update: Mele M5 is available on DealExtreme for $87.10 including shipping]
AllWinner A20 source code has been released, so both devices will likely be able to run Linux booted from SD card or internal flash. As this SoC integrates a Mali-400 MP2 GPU, you’ll be able to get 2D/3D graphics acceleration in Linux without having to resort to libhybris, which will take more time to implement, but support more devices including SoC featuring PowerVR GPUs.